Petshark: Talking Stick
The reports about Jason Demers and Brent Burns should be considered positive developments. The reports I mean are things like:
Jason Demers practiced with the team and took line rushes with Matt Irwin this morning while Nick Petrecki and Brent Burns skated together. Still, McLellan stopped short of declaring Demers good-to-go. -Working the Corners
Even if Demers isn't expected to play tonight, he isn't far off. With him available to play, the team will have choices to make but they are good choices. Like sitting Sheppard to make room for Gomez, it is more a wealth of riches than a shortage of options.
Brent Burns, while probably not as close to playing as Demers, also showed visible improvement. His merely being in the practice tells us that. Still, what he told David Pollak doesn't inspire confidence:
The Sharks appear to be working from a checklist. Obviously scoring in the first period is on that list. They have done that ever since that disappointing game in Calgary. Also, power play goals are important, their power play lacked some shock and awe last season. Needed to fix that.
Patrick Marleau had his two-goals-a-game objective. Perhaps that was drawing too much public attention away from the team, so he skipped it last night. Making NHL history would be way too high profile for such a modest guy. Still, it was clear that the Sharks wanted to get that 2nd goal for Marleau, because historic records are fun to hold. Too bad they were so worn out from back to back games.
Who were they playing against last night? I thought I heard it was some team that had a winning streak at HP Pavilion to defend. Does it even matter who the Sharks play anymore?
There was some fuss after Brad Stuart's hit on Gabriel Landeskog during the Saturday game in San Jose. There were two things about the fuss and the subsequent penalties that made me think "dumb, and dumber."
I am no expert on NHL hits, but Stuart's hit reminded me of a hit by Niklas Kronwall on Jakub Voracek in a game last season. There are probably better comparables out there, but it's one that was recent enough to fall under similar officiating and review standards.
Suffice to say, Landeskog came away from being hit in better shape than Voracek did. Still, the Kronwall hit didn't result in a suspension, or even a penalty. There was no reason to think the Stuart one would either.
Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: brad+stuart, colorado+avalanche, gabriel+landeskog, hit, hockey+fight, jakub+voracek, niklas+kronwall, penalty, suspension, visor
With tedious regularity, Patrick Marleau scores two goals. Of course it's not tedious at all, it's a beautiful thing. Someone should write a song about it.
He scores two goals in Alberta,
And two in the next game.
He scores two goals before he scores two goals,
Well, we're not to game five yet. But he's already done something that hasn't been done in nearly 100 years:
@SharksStats: "Patrick Marleau 2nd player in NHL history to begin a season with 4 multi-goal games (Cy Denneny, 1917-18 Ottawa Senators). #Elias"
Brad Stuart predicted this.
Yesterday, David Pollak published some quotes from Brad Stuart about his career and about the Sharks, what he saw while he was here the first time, and what he saw playing against San Jose later. One of those answers might explain this mind-boggling start from Team Teal:
Pollak: "...wasn’t last year a step backward?"
Stuart: “Sometimes that can be a bit of a wake-up call and maybe that will motivate the team as a whole to not let that happen again. It all depends on how you handle it as individuals and as a team – who takes responsibility upon themselves to be better. And everybody’s got to do that.” -Working the Corners
So there you have it. This is what the Sharks look like when they are awake.
I think there's more to it. I recall many times last season when Joe Thornton would throw passes to no one. At first I thought this was a positioning issue, like he was too often in the same place or trying something new he wasn't used to. That doesn't seem to be the case. Obviously, the Sharks were having problems with their sonar:
Two games, two cities, two wins by three goals each, a new player. Busy few days for the Sharks.
Such games can make a fan base hungry like an infusion of MSG. Raise the bar that way and folks are more happy than grateful. They say things like "where were these Sharks last season?" Ten goals in two games? Two multi-goal games for Marleau? Goals from Boyle in both games? Six goals in one period?
Edmonton. Calgary. Still, better to win than lose, and winning with authority is best. Do we thank the new coaches? Do we thank the fact that the players have been chomping at the bit to get going for months now? I feel the need to thank someone, everyone for the way the Sharks looked.
How 'bout that new penalty kill? Um... maybe the team should avoid taking penalties and it won't matter so much. But of all the things the team was doing, that was the most new thing, so I'm willing to be a little patient.
Last week I wondered who would start better, older players or younger ones in the NHL? That's what I was wondering as I watched the Sharks win their first game of the season. The win was terribly exciting and a lot of fun to watch. The joy and excitement even got through the haze of non-hockey distraction that overwhelmed me this past weekend. But that was yesterday. Back to the present question, and I don't mean Scott Gomez. That has yet to be answered and cannot be measured with fuzzy math. The answer to my question depends, of course, on how you define "better," and also what you call "older."
"Better:" Scoring goals is important, but helping someone score a goal is important too. Things is, it's much easier to scan a day's results and find the goal scorers. So we'll go with goals. That leaves out goalies but this isn't a scientific investigation and everyone knows goalies are different.
"Older:" This is a lot more difficult than I anticipated when I first asked this question. Work as you might, your body will start slipping when you hit 30. But many of the NHL's top players are at or near that mark, so it isn't fair to say 30 is "older." On average, there are more players playing under 30 than over, but the guys who are still playing over 30 are probably exceptional, there's a reason they are still playing. The best 28 year old players can still demand ridiculous big contracts, 28 can't be "old." If you scan the bios of active NHL skaters, and go to page 9 of the 18+ pages, you're in the 28-29 year range. So there, that's where I'll draw my line: 29 is "older." Someone get me a walker.
Where are the Sharks? Of course they are in Calgary, about to play a game.
But where do they stand now, with camp all wrapped up? It might have something to do with where they have been. I asked several players over the course of the week about the pros and cons of playing overseas during the lockout. There seems to be a consensus from observers, myself included, that those who did play are in a better position to start, even if those who did not play might be better off in a couple of months. Fitness wasn't exactly what I was asking about, and I got several interesting answers that addressed the mental aspect of playing overseas.
Earlier in the week, I had asked Jason Demers and Justin Braun about how they made the transition to the Finnish game, a somewhat different question from making the adjustment back. Here's what I asked other players later in the week, and what they told me.
The names of the players on the mostly final Sharks roster are out there by now. By association, the names of the players who were sent back down are also known to Sharks fans: John McCarthy, Bracken Kearns, Matt Pelech, and Matt Tennyson. The Worcester Sharks are playing right now. Listen in here.
Yesterday a Worcester player was sent down to the ECHL: Sacha Guimond. He had been called up from the Bulls, but due to a recent trade involving the Bulls captain Justin Bowers and the rights to Guimond, the young defenseman won't be coming back to San Francisco. Instead he's going to play with the Gwinnett Gladiators, to hone his skills and await another shot at the AHL. Because he was originally a Bulls prospect and not a Sharks prospect, he could in theory be called up by any team. He was in Worcester on a PTO.
That has to be frustrating. There you are, working away, trying to do a good job, feeling like you're part of the team, there's laughter and uniforms and a budding understand of how things work. Busy busy busy you are, so busy you have no idea how you ended up wrapped around that stanchion. You suppose it must somehow be your fault, you should have seen it coming, did someone push you there? And where did that blood come from? Is it pumping or merely seeping?
Filed in: , hockey, , San Jose Sharks, , | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: bracken+kearns, frazer+mclaren, james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, matt+pelech, matt+tennyson, nick+petrecki, sacha+guimond, sebastian+trudeau
I was in a city named Read. There was a festival going on, something like a Dickens or Renaissance Fair. The city had winding cobbled streets on steep hills. I kept bumping into people from my Twitter feed. Jewel Staite was singing an operetta on an open air stage. A Dickensian play was being performed in an amphitheater, the cast mostly Sharks prospects. There were silver beer steins in every hand. I realized I was in costume too, everyone was. We were literally players on a very big stage. "As in: All the world's a...?" I thought. That cliche overload might be what woke me up.
I think this means that I am ready for hockey season to start. The immersion process has begun.
The Sharks scrimmaged today, no drills. Irwin cemented his place as the front runner for a spot on the blue line by being paired again with Dan Boyle. As far as I could tell, Petrecki and Tennyson were paired, making Pelech the odd man out. Braun was with Murray again, and Vlasic with Stuart.
About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org